This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 109, No.2 (Apr. - Jun., 1989), 175-182.
Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0279%28198904%2F06%29109%3A2%3C175%3ASAHICI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9 Journal of the American Oriental Society is currently published by American Oriental Society.
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR' s Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/aboutiterms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/journals/aos.html. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.
JSTOR is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating and preserving a digital archive of scholarly journals. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact email@example.com.
and of the humanist attitude toward classical language. and the term for this academic degree in medieval Latin was licentia docendi. THEISLAMIC DOCTORATE ANDUNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP As you know. or something else. Time does not permit the full unfolding of all the essentials of the two developments. for one reason or another? Could it be that all we have from that great civilization are things of little consequence. "the license to teach. can be adequately explained only on purely Islamic-Arabic grounds. these will soon be available in a forthcoming study. I also hope to show how certain exigencies relative to classical Arabic have a basic formative connection with the humanism of the Italian Renaissance. ijdzat attadris." This term is the word for word translation of the original Arabic term. in origin. .A SEARCH FOR ORIGINS. I have therefore limited myself this evening to two phenomena for each of the two movements. The cultured Christian layman is aware of his religious debt to Judaism. I would like to entertain you with a brief description of some phenomena. Two major intellectual movements. whose origins. is that of the school guilds in the Middle Ages. I shall speak of two aspects of the doctorate. In so far as we are Western we know that we are indebted intellectually to the classical antiquity of Greece and Rome. as well as on the Christian religion. meaning. Others may be aware of some legacy from Islam. the second is that of humanism in the Italian Renaissance. but. The very idea may cause him to smile indulgently. These two intellectual movements are still with us today in our systems of higher education. or to dismiss the suggestion as unworthy of his attention. 1988. that we are Judaeo-Christian. and for the movement of humanism. I shall speak of the art of dictation. I hope to show how the Islamic doctorate had its influence on Western scholarship.It helps us to understand our religious. In so far as we are Christians we know that our religious origins go back to the Jews. And if a suggestion of such a legacy was made somewhere in our reading. creating there a problem still with us today. which we have long considered as of exclusively Western origin. ars dictaminis. at the Society'S 198th Annual Meeting in Chicago. For the scholastic movement. but seem to remember that it was Greek. it somehow did not make an impression. to recover the item in question directly from its source. because of certain exigencies relative to the Islamic religion and to classical Arabic. some words that passed into Western vernaculars. generally speaking. I believe that both had their origins in Islam.SCHOLASTICISM AND HUMANISM IN CLASSICAL ISLAM AND THE CHRISTIAN GEORGE MAKDISI WEST* UNIVERSITY PENNSYLVANIA OF HISTORYIS. the Bible is there to prove it. cultural and intellectual heritage. some trivia of no great importance? This evening. subsequently. indispensable to the understanding of the intellectual movement to which it belongs. In the classical period of Islam's system of education. and that the West was able. the full term included wa 'l-iftii". Thus there is nothing that our historical studies have brought to our attention of a significant legacy of purely Islamic origin. called in Latin. Was there really nothing in the legacy of classical Islam that was purely Islamic and somehow incorporated in Western culture without our being aware of it. and of his intellectual debt to Greco-Roman antiquity. AMONG OTHER THINGS. The results of my research on humanism in no way oppose the conclusions found in the excellent work of Paul Oskar Kristeller. he is not aware of any debt to classical Islam. I believe. The first movement. have their roots deep down in Islamic soil. The Great Books of Western Civilization are there to give us the development of that heritage. meaning to teach. the term doctorate comes from the Latin docere. Each of these phenomena is an essential element. appropriately called scholasticism. in 175 * Presidential Address delivered on March 22. these two words were only part of the term.
i. This triple status later appeared in the guild schools of the Christian West: faqih. (2) he was recognized as a mufti. Unlike Judaism. the Latin equivalents of which were magister. the juridical theologians were being forced to answer that the Koran was not God's co-eternal Word. but only when corroborated by reason. Sunni Islam had no ecclesiastical hierarchy to determine its orthodoxy. These disputations were scholarly exercises he had practiced throughout his career as a graduate student of law. I will presently go over them for those who are not. the religious system of Sunni Islam was characterized by a high degree of individualism. and a new Traditionalist leader emerged. The forces that called it into existence had to do not so much with education as with religion. East then West. After fifteen years. This reaction created in turn another reaction: a traditionalist movement whose purpose it was to bring Muslims back to the Prophet's message. no license to teach a field. for two of the newly organized professional guilds of law. and with Christianity. a "license to issue legal opinions. was the prerogative of the doctor of the law exclusively. which the Traditionalists adopted as their manifesto against the Rationalists. which Shafi'ii developed as the theology of Islam. before the Inquisition. were. a master of law.. Toward the end of Islam's second century (the eighth of our era). The doctorate was obtained after an oral examination to determine the originality of the candidate's theses. To obtain a doctorate. declared their respect for reason and revelation. the madhhab of the Iraqians. i.. exclusivist unit. The doctorate came into existence after the ninthcentury Inquisition in Islam. a juridical theology." This license. Shafi"i wrote his famous treatise. as indicated. professor and doctor. usually four years for the basic undergraduate course. This dramatic change in the make-up of the madhhabs was brought about by the intrusion of Greek thought upon Islam. or the uncreated. in the hands of the jurisconsults exclusively. one had to study in a guild school of law. In contrast with Shi-ite Islam. a professional guild. which attempted to Islamize the intrusive philosophy. but only as the handmaid of revelation. With its professional legal guilds now in place. The difference between them was that the Rationalists accepted revelation." so to speak. It was the first comprehensive work on the methodology of the law. it did not refer back to the authority of an Imam. with rules and regulations to be adhered to by those who wished to become members. in classical Islam. With the successful conclusion of his legal studies. Traditionalism and Rationalism. and the Traditionalists accepted reason. with Judaism. Soon afterwards. After the Inquisition. What we have not so far considered. the madhhab of Shafi"i. a professor of legal opinions solicited by the faithful.2 (1989) alistic movement called Mu'itazilism. the names of two other leading jurisconsults were chosen for the two other guilds that survived down to our time.. Trouble had been brewing for some time before the Inquisition. identified by the name of a city or region: the madhhab of the Medinians. a doctor ("teacher") of the law. during which the philosophical theologians persecuted the juridical theologians. I am sure that some of my audience are familiar with these steps. Word of God.g. some of whose tenets do violence to monotheistic beliefs. Islam reacted first with a ration- . Shafi'ii and Ibn Hanbal were chosen as "patron saints. The guilds of law in Islam. Though these titles came to be used synonymously in both school systems. Unlike Christianity. except that of the religious law. and (3) he was recognized as eligible for the teaching post of mudarris. The Inquisition turned on the theological question of whether the Koran was the created. Ibn Hanbal. in certain cases leading to death.. mufti and mudarris. his Traditionalist answer to the philosophical theology of his adversaries. in disputations set up for the purpose. Both factions. however. Under pain of punishment. To meet the challenge of Greek philosophy.176 Journal of the American Oriental Society 109. in Islam or anywhere else. the Inquisition failed. Unlike Shicism. the Inquisition was set afoot under al-Mamun. in the guild schools of classical Islam they originally pointed each to a distinct function. the Risiila.e. the madhhab of Ibn Hanbal. and to test his ability to defend them against all objections. they emerged identified by the name of a person: e. is that the scholarly addition to the license to teach. to an autonomous. i. it had no councils or synods. It had not existed before. hero of the passive resistance that broke the back of the Inquisition. Thirteen years after the death of Shafi"i. Sunni Islam professionalized an individualistic and autonomous system with the steps that led to the determination of orthodoxy. called madhhabs. it had no Gaon who ranked as the highest authority. There was no other doctorate in any other field. the machinery to determine orthodoxy in Islam.e. They were thus transformed from a loose and informal entity. the Mu-tazilis. the great patron of the translation movement from Greek to Arabic. some ten or more for the graduate. the madhhab of the Basrians. the dignity of the doctorate bestowed upon him a triple status: (I) he was recognized as a faqih.e. The purpose of these guilds was to place.
This process of scholarly research was called ijtihiid. and eventually the imitating professor lost his reputation." When the layman chose the opinion (fatwii) of a given professor of the law. THE ISLAMIC DOCTORATE AND THE MAGISTERIUM CHURCH OF THE CHRISTIAN But the influence of the Islamic doctorate extended well beyond the scholarly culture of the university system. England and Spain. and Western scholarship as we have come to know it from the Middle Ages. called fatwii. researched it intensively in the sacred scriptures. according as it was applied to the layman. or to the jurisconsult. four of which have come down to our times: autonomous. in the development of the Inns of Court. an atmosphere in which university personnel were torn between two opposing forces. beginning with Italy. Upon reflection this should not be surprising. in scholarship. Charles S. which has come down to our day. This term had two opposite meanings. This very system found its way to London. consensus was determined retroactively. it meant "investing with authority". soliciting from him a response. since education in the Middle Ages was basically a religious function. a legal opinion (the religious law of Islam covers civil as well as religious matters)." so to speak. no power could compel him to give a predetermined opinion. presented to a jurisconsult. Through that very system it modified the millennial magisterium of the Christian Church.MAKDISI: Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West 177 system of the magisterial fatwii-ijmii". called in that capacity mustafti. emerges without authoritative dissenting opinions. The chosen opinion was considered orthodox on the first level. with its defense of the doctoral thesis. who was free to ask the same question of a number of professors of the law. it includes the initial instance of scholarly orthodoxy bestowed on a scholarly work. studied it. in that of the jurisconsult. when graduate work was introduced from Germany. the layman could proceed to repeat the process. the Islamic system of determining orthodoxy in religion was. in order to find a solution to it. and the dignity of the academic degree. no way of counting the yeas and nays of all the professors. In other words. The second freedom was that of the layman. The mufti (professor of legal opinions) took this question. negatively. and to make his own choice from among the answers received. He then chose one opinion from among the responses he received. In this process two freedoms were involved: the freedom of the professor to profess his own personal opinions independently of all forces. Peirce. and the later instance of unanimous consensus when a given thesis debated over the years. It also includes the process of university education. This scholarly system of determining orthodoxy began with a question which the Muslim layman. and as we still practice it in its best tradition in modern times. This tradition includes the academic freedom of the professor to profess his opinions. and toward servile imitation and plagiarism. in its essentials. professional. To be considered authoritative. and the same freedom of the student to learn. it meant "servile imitation. and to pass judgment on what he is learning. but rather from an intrusive foreign source that was religious but highly individualistic. that choice was considered an act of servile imitation. he "invested it with authority. the second level of orthodoxy was that of the unanimous consensus of the professors on a given point of law. the medieval Western university system of determining "orthodoxy. no organization to declare the existence of such a consensus. The "secularizing" current issued not from a secular source. In the case of the layman. France. He then gave his response to the soliciting layman. The same system found its way also to the universities of the West. like the guild schools of law of classical Islam. he had to practice original scholarship. and unincorporated guild schools of law. both within and without the guild in which he was a member. the doctorate. asking the same question of a number of other jurisconsults. a predecessor of William James. and therefore difficult to accommodate to . the exertion of one's efforts to the utmost limit. There being no councils or synods. Historians speak of a secularizing current in the medieval university movement. His choice was technically called taqlid. and provisionally. In other words. Orthodoxy thus functioned on two levels. It further includes our attitude toward the products of scholarship. literally. Under no obligation to accept it. called mufti. These are essential data necessary to make a comparison between the Islamic religious system of determining orthodoxy. is the same scholarly system the West has practised in university scholarship from the Middle Ages down to the present day. and later to the United States. unanimous consensus was considered to exist when there was no known authoritative dissent. opinion and consensus." But if a professor of the law chose the opinion of another professor as his own solution to the layman's question. both of which the Germans have termed Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. This system of consensus was in fact elaborated in its essentials by the American pragmatist of the past century. and was no longer considered authoritative.
the individualistic Islamic doctorate. a specific program of studies called. not considered by any means a The second part of my talk this evening has to do with humanism. in 1387. with this difference. there were only seven bishops and 13 priests.. to its component of competence. Accordingly.e. its own religious jurisdictional teaching authority already in place. In the Christian West the doctorate emerged at first with only its element of competence. it laid the basis for recurrent dissension among Christians across the centuries. the teaching authority of the pastor or pontiff. and when it did. however. But St. and published in 1945. orthodox or heretical. on the one hand. and. For both systems of education. i. The authentic teaching office of Sunni orthodoxy was in the hands of the professors of the religious law individually. The bishop and in the last resort the pope could only exercise judicial and coercive power. But in Christianity its jurisdictional authority in theology soon came back into the picture. before Pope Clement VII. in . "ea quae condita sunt a papa possunt esse dubia" (those matters that are established by the pope can be uncertain). has specified. St. in a lecture he gave in 1944 at Brown University. in doing so. Paul Oskar Kristeller. Just as Greek non-theistic thought was an intrusive element in Islam. as well as to law. it was not the mere school exercise that it was at first in the nascent universities of the West. is in religion without jurisdictional authority. and in the consensus. in Islam it meant also the jurisdictional magisterium. There was therefore the prospect of two separate authorities in the Christian West. as pointed out by Yves Congar. where for well over a millennium the jurisdictional magisterium belonged to the bishops in union with the pope. by itself. as pointed out by Father Avery Dulles. upheld the right of the doctors of theology not to follow the episcopal decision. since the Christian West had its own magisterium. the pope himself could not pass final judgment in matters of dogma. claiming its heritage through the professors of theology in the university chairs of sacred theology. as pointed out by Father Yves Congar. authority. The professorial magisterium. originally created to provide machinery for the Traditionalist determination of Islamic orthodoxy.2 (1989) revolutionary. said he. The theologian Godefroid de Fontaines (d. and the literary arts. they simply applied the punishment. The first was the preeminence of jurisdictional authority. the doctorate was. Such was the system applied by Peter of Ailly. an authority known in the Christian Church as the magisterium. whereas in Islam it was the prerogative of the field of law alone. Thomas's distinction did not stop the doctorate from reverting to its original nature. and this was believed impossible without having recourse to the science of theology. In classical Islam the doctorate consisted of two main constituent elements: (I) competence.178 Journal of the American Oriental Society 109. knowledge and skill as a scholar of the law. In 1387. the 34th session of the Council consisted of 300 doctors of theology. i. and (2) authority. the seeds of dissent were sown in Western Civilization. In 1439. At first restricted. on the first level. the Faculty of Theology in Paris assumed the power of passing final judgment on whether a religious doctrine was true or false. as pointed out by Charles Thurot. extended to all the faculties: theology. and down to our day. and the second. the authority of the professor of theology. unless adopted by the pastoral magisterium. THE ART OF DICTATION a system administered by an ecclesiastical hierarchy. proved to be an intrusive element in hierarchical Christianity. the exclusive and autonomous right. was vital to the Sunni Islamic process of determining orthodoxy. to issue opinions having the value of orthodoxy. medicine. 1306).e. But it was not long before the doctorate reclaimed its other component. understandably so. at the Council of Basel (the role of the doctors of theology having by now reached its climax). but rather to "determine" (a scholastic term meaning to provide a solution) in those matters belonging to the jurisdiction of the pope. magisterium cathedrae magistralis. on the other hand. the doctorate was the end-product of the school exercise. in the legal opinion. the competence that belongs to a master in a given field of knowledge. the jurisdictional authority. because. of argumentation and debate. the second. on the second. In Islam the give-and-take of disputation. in classical Islam and the Christian West. namely. The professor's competence was subordinated to the authority of the pastor. Sitting somewhere in that assembly of doctors. It was necessary to give a theological reason for the condemnation. the master's authority. The doctorate of theology in the University of Paris soon reverted to its original nature. Thomas Aquinas had already recognized this duality of authority and. had made a distinction between two magisteria: the first he called magisterium cathedrae pastoralis or pontificalis. that whereas in the Western system the doctorate at first merely meant competence. This was not the case in Christianity.. The kind of humanism I have in mind is that same humanism that the eminent scholar.
But scholars. was a philological movement in the full sense of the term. history and moral philosophy. two major movements in Western intellectual history. (2) grammar and literature from France. they also recorded the pre-Islamic classical poetry they could find among the various tribes. whose first concerns were grammar and lexicography. canonista. We have already seen that the movement of the school guilds was one of defense against an Islamic philosophical system of theology inspired by Greek thought. if possible. a humanist was known either by the name of poet. Scholars went back to record the language of the Arabians. poetry. to create literature as eloquent as that of the ancient models. when scholasticism was already on its decline. have shown conclusively that this was not the case. its purpose was to use this language as the vehicle of a literature of poetry and artistic prose. due to the influence of languages spoken by the conquered peoples. or by both. studia humanitatis. The word had to be heard from an authoritative speaker. It was generally believed that. from about the year 1280. Journeys back to their origins became a scholarly necessity. and Kristeller and others have made clear that scholasticism still had its adherents among the humanists. It was a "love of words" and their use in the development of an Arabic literature. as well as of the Koran. The object was to use classical writings as models to imitate and emulate. and (2) the use of a method called the method of dictation. For the . and humanism. For quite some time much controversy was involved with this view of humanism. In the West. collecting them carefully to be used as evidential examples. The term studia humanitatis was borrowed from Cicero and Gellius and first used by the humanist Coluccio Salutati. On the other hand. the movement of a particular program of studies. Scholasticism. unlike scholasticism which was a medieval movement. but to judge by the consensus of scholarship. humanism began when Muslims became aware of the ever-growing differences between the classical language of the sacred scriptures and the language that developed after they broke out of Arabia. the movement of the school guilds just treated. and scholasticism followed some two centuries later. the opinion of Professor Kristeller has reached the level of consensus.MAKDISI: Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West 179 Latin. The movement of humanism was one of defense against what was perceived as the deterioration of classical Arabic. The names "humanism" and "scholasticism" were coined long after the movements they designate had come into existence and fully developed. in the heart of the Middle Ages. and so on. In Islam. in much the same fashion as the linguistic anthropologists of modern times study languages among the natives of strange cultures. humanism was a modern movement that made a clean break with the past. rather than copying the already written word. All I can hope to do here is to state that the historical facts from classical Islam fully support the thesis of Kristeller. humanism began in the first century (the seventh of our era). in emulation of their ancient models. and. and that the dawn of humanism dates. Islamic literary humanism aimed at preserving the classical language of prose and poetry of the ancient Arabians. such as Charles Homer Haskins. Long before they became part of Western intellectual history. The Arab scholars recorded in notebooks the classical language spoken by the Arabians. the influence of Byzantium. It was in the Middle Ages that scholasticism achieved its full development. It will presently be seen that this date may be taken back even further to coincide with the dawn of the scholastic movement. rhetoric. This movement. clarifying what to them had become the strange and rare words of the Koran and of the Prophetic Traditions. This movement was characterized by two traits: (I) the aim for eloquence in speech and literary composition. a method required by the exigencies of classical Arabic. The characteristics of classical Arabic required dictation. away from the Middle Ages and especially from the scholastic movement which humanism was supposed to abominate. the two movements made their initial appearance in the same period. The chronology of the development of these two movements in the Christian West was the reverse of that of classical Islam. who had never mixed with peoples of other languages. or by that of orator. Before the term humanista was coined on the analogy of legista. not merely seen already written. to go as far beyond those models as the writers' talents could carry them. and (3). Kristeller sees them in three sources: (I) the ars dictaminis of Italy. as of the fifteenth century especially. both date from the Middle Ages. humanism did not achieve it until the Italian Renaissance. and the term humanism was first used in the nineteenth century. and of the Prophetic Traditions. As for the antecedents of humanism. and consisting of grammar. The school guilds in Islam had no reason to develop before the Inquisition. these two movements were major intellectual movements of defense mobilized to meet the challenge of external forces. before Petrarch and Lorenzo Valla. artista.
the author justifies this method by telling the student that: The best method is for the dictator to dictate to you. ars compositionis ("the art of composition"). and while the assistant dictator (almustamlT) repeats the words (for those seated beyond earshot of the dictator). the place of writing. an infinitive noun. The speaker breathes life into the inert consonants.180 Journal of the American Oriental Society 109." in the plural. Dictation could of course be stretched to mean composition. i. as in the plural Latin. authors of dictamina works begin by giving a definition of dictamen. came to be used for collections of florilegia in the fields of humanistic studies. (Since it is our plan to treat of the art of dictamen. "I no longer put any trust in recitation. And whereas. The plural form of this term. since the work of Wattenbach in the nineteenth century. but vowel-signs must also be supplied. emphasis was placed on writing from dictation. KTB: KUTUB KaTB KaTaBa KUTiBa "books" "writing" "he wrote" "it was written" The classical Arabic word is thus correctly learned only when the person recording it hears it correctly spoken. you may make mistakes which he may not hear. and a passive verbal sentence. (ars dictandi. in his European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages says that in theory the ars dietaminis embraced both prose and poetry. only the consonants are written. And when the humanist movement made its appearance in Italy. at. an active verbal sentence. the epistolary: . the twelfth-century Sam-ani gives the following advice to students: the words should be written as pronounced by the dictator (al-mumlT). Ishaq b. in the second half of the eleventh century. except for the Koran. it did so under a term denoting The author then proceeds to define it: Dictamen sic diffinitur.. or better still. dictamina. fully supplied with diacritics. and the fields which the term stands for. we must first consider what dictamen is. Modern scholars of this interesting phenomenon. dictamen est literalis edicio. sententiarum coloribus adornata. early on.) The author then goes on to state that there are many kinds of dictamen.. From the very beginning of education. By a fortunate stroke of luck. One and the same cluster of consonants. have given the meaning of composition to the term ars dictaminis and its cognates. even though they proceed to deal only with the art of letter-writing. and for you to write from his formulation of the words. all in a three-letter root word. But it seems to me that it would have been simple enough to coin a more pertinent term. begins with a definition of the "art" and a statement concerning its various kinds: Quia nobis est propositum tractare de arte dictamin urn. An anonymous work on dictamen from Orleans. and records it correctly with its diacritical points and vowel-signs. and sentences of ornate style. which scholars of this field date from about 1180. for instance. and if he reads to you. 148) written word is lifeless. venus tate sermonum egregia. resurrecting them by vocalizing as he speaks. Diacritics are used to differentiate between the letters of the written word. Ernst Curtius.Tabba" was heard saying. the vowel-signs were not." (p. dictamina). to the program of studies called in Arabic 'ulum al-adab. unaware of the original significance of the term. In his book on The Art of Dictating and of Taking Dictation. diacritics came to be supplied in the text. entitled Ars dictandi aurelianensis.2 (1989) dictation: ars dictaminis. as well as in the field of the Prophetic Traditions. since I saw Malik dozing off while someone was reciting to him. 8) The fields which the authors of ars dictaminis enumerate belong to the program of studies called the studia humanitatis and. (p. ars epistolaris ("the epistolary art"). when we dictate a letter to a secretary we are certainly composing. before that. even when they treat nothing but writing prose letters.. but devoid of vowel-signs. but that he will confine himself to one kind only.) It is with good reason that the name for the elementary school in classical Islam was maktab.e. meaning "dictations. the studia adabiya. and down to our times. in words of brilliant elegance. amiili ("dictations"). Clsa b. the consonants should be given their diacritical points and their vowel-signs. dictamen. something may distract you from hearing all that he says . The term for dictation was imlii". The artes dietandi commonly begin with this definition. For if you recite the text to him. primum videndum est quid sit dictamen. In another passage. (Dictamen is defined as follows: dictamen is literary expression. can produce a plural noun. found in works entitled al-Amiili. say.
which opted for classical Latin. aliud prosaicum. to be sure. sometimes prose. the linguistic vehicle of humanism was classical Latin. where Dante had so magisterially put his thesis to the test? They even suggested he rewrite that eloquent work of genius in classical Latin. Medieval Latin and the Florentine vernacular had already proven to be capable of high eloquence. and the humanism of a Dante Alighieri. I . THE HUMANIST CLASSICAL ATTITUDE TOWARD LANGUAGE The phenomenon of dictation is only one of the many phenomena which show the filiation between Arabic and Latin literary humanism. which was the integrating element for the fields of both humanisms. whose vehicle for eloquence was medieval Latin. Specifically. namely. and especially in Dante's Divine Comedy. epistola. the Koran and its classical language became one of the principal models to be imitated. especially the lawyers and the notaries. Dictamen is sometimes metrical [poetry]. the famous secretary of Frederick II. the subjects of the studia humanitatis are the same as those of Islam. Among the adab-humanists. why then did the humanists of the Italian Renaissance insist on eloquence in classical Latin? Why were they not swayed by the strong plea which Dante made for vernacular eloquence in his De Vulgari Eloquentia? Why were they insensitive to the eloquence of the Divine Comedy. rethorica. That is why the Divine Comedy was not considered a product of humanism.MAKDISI: Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West lSI dictaminis autem plures sunt species. The dawn of humanism in the Italian Renaissance is dated only some three decades after the death of Piero. merely borrowed as a designation for its contents as they were found in the Arabic Amdli books. The challenge. Humanism is not humanism without the presence of two elements: (I) the studia adabiya for Islam. the impetus came from Islam for the molds and the type of linguistic vehicle used to express them. and the studia humanitatis for the Christian West. the monarch who made so much use of Saracen administrative practices. it was. for this less than normal attraction toward a language not one's own. turned the greater part of their attention to Cicero. to my mind. the amateur humanists were also the same. and the humanists who were the professional representatives of these disciplines were. In the Christian West. 1249). and (2) eloquence. Dictation was the method peculiar to the classical Arabic scene. were for the most part drawn by the West from the quarries of classical antiquity. just as the vehicle for adab was classical Arabic. the contents of those subjects. As I see it. in Latin. In the case of Islam.) Other introductions to the dictamina corroborate the statement of Curtius. The question arises. but also in the disciplines of humanism. whose vehicle for eloquence was the Italian vernacular of Florence. The only answer I have. from the humanism of the Italian Renaissance. dictamen aliud est metricum. the boon companions. the physicians were prominent amateur humanists. et etiam pretermissus alius de epistola agamus. the disciplines of the studia humanitatis are found in Arabic adab-humanism. however. de metrico nihil ad praesens. in preference to medieval Latin. of rhetoric. the tutors. but certainly not for the humanists of the Italian Renaissance. Just as significant. and so on. But we will treat epistolary dictamen. and from the Koran itself. and it drew its inspiration for eloquence from pre-Islamic poetry and oratory. One of these phenomena was the attitude of the two humanisms toward the classical language. but the contents of the molds and the vehicle itself were sought in Western classical antiquity as found preserved mainly in France. who after a choice of writers in classical Roman antiquity. not only in medicine and the natural sciences. we find a work entitled Dictamina. The feeling must have been an overwhelming one considering the difficulties involved. In the bibliography of Piero della Vigna (d. not medieval Latin or the vernaculars. and of letters. This is what differentiates the humanism of a Piero della Vigna. prosaici vero plures sunt species: oracio. In the West. Nothing will now be said of the poetry. in the case of the Christian West the Bible was a model for Piero della Vigna. There are. This attitude is understandable in the case of humanism in Islam. and set the others aside. not the vernaculars. (Now there are numerous kinds of dictamen. whose very authenticity as the divine speech of God is the Koran's own description of itself as speech of matchless eloquence. in the writings of Piero della Vigna. is that there must have been an irresistible urge to answer the challenge of classical Arabic with an equally classical language. the same. the secretaries of the various departments of government. Islam had both of these components: it developed its own studies in adab. and the less than perfect results obtained. in both humanisms. among whom many were prolific authors. numerous kinds of prose dictamen: the prose of elegance. not so in the case of humanism in the Christian West. The humanism of the Italian Renaissance adopted classical Latin as the vehicle of eloquence.
but does not treat them. if. there is indeed reason to believe that the challenge was there and that the attempt was made to meet it with a language that just had to be classical. (2) The ars dictaminis deals. To sum up: (I) Historians of Italian Renaissance humanism. authored by philosopher-physicians who were also humanists. if not. the reason for this delay in development was that it had to wait for the full development of urbanism. the AmlilT genre and its cognates. were plentiful in the chanceries and chancery schools of Sicily. My time is drawing to a close. as well as in Spain. is brought later into the picture. cite as its sources Italy's own traditions. Arabic. worked side by side. the only atmosphere in which it could flourish fully. is Arabo-Islamic. with epistolography. To my mind.182 Journal of the American Oriental Society 109. (4) Arabic books on humanism. while humanism developed only partially. in that influx of new knowledge that Haskins talks about in Italy and Sicily. and in contrast to Islam. he added. was a quarry for materials. and had been lurking in the background since the days of the ninth-century Spaniard Alvaro who complained in his lndiculus luminosus ("The Little Letter of Lofty Eloquence") that the talented Christian Mozarab youths of Spain could no longer write a decent letter in Latin. Arabic books on humanism. the arrival of the two movements in Italy occurred in the same period. came to the two great centers of translation. scholasticism was the first to develop fully. But although their arrival was simultaneous. Thus if our religious monotheism is Judaeo-Christian. it cites other fields of humanism. Byzantium. where secretaries imbued with the three cultures. in the second half of the eleventh century. (5) And finally. as promised. (3) The scholastic and humanistic movement arrived simultaneously on the intellectual scene in Italy. and our intellectual culture is Greco-Roman. considered uninvolved with the origins. and Greek. then at least with some food for thought. It was the reverse of that of Islam. with some interesting post-prandial entertainment. until two centuries later. was there. what I believe we have yet to realize is that an essential part of our intellectual culture. especially the ars dictaminis. I hope that I have provided you. to my mind. Latin. but could do so in classical Arabic-a classical Arabic. Thank you. and France. our university and scholarly culture. believe. Monte Cassino in Italy. and Toledo in Spain.2 (1989) not. it is because they had both already come into existence and developed in Islam. that was superior to that of the Arabs themselves! Yes. Thus it was known to consist of more fields than were being used. as I have stated. their development was . the only kind considered adequate to the task. in practice. namely.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.